Torrent of Antisemitic Abuse Unleashed Online After Exam Cheating Scandal Exposed at French Jewish School
A Jewish school in France implicated in an exam cheating scandal has become the target of what one prominent Jewish advocacy group described as an antisemitic campaign of “odious messages teeming on the web in recent days.”
“Anti-Semitism: no to impunity online and offline,” the American Jewish Committee’s Paris office declared in a tweet earlier this week, as it posted images of some of the antisemitic messages rained upon the Ozar Hatorah school in Creteil, near Paris.
French media outlets have reported widely on the cheating scandal, which led to over 20 arrests in Paris and Marseille last week. One of those taken into custody was a supervisor of the Ozar Hatorah school, who was indicted for “complicity to fraud in an examination.” The supervisor reportedly admitted to sharing the geography and mathematics questions with students in advance of the exams.
Ozar Hatorah is known for its students achieving some of the best grades in France, and speculation has been rife that preserving the school’s academic reputation was the motive behind the cheating scandal.
However, as the AJC and several other observers pointed out, the scandal has provided an opportunity for French antisemites to have a field day online with various conspiracy theories. One comment, posted on Twitter by an account named @brabracoms, called “these people are liars, cheats, thieves, they are hateful. The whole world is starting to hate them.”
In an article about the scandal, French columnist Frédéric Métézeau noted that many of the posters “no longer even bother to hide behind anti-Zionism” when it comes to attacking Jews.
The French parliament is meanwhile scheduled to debate a bill that would fine social media platforms for permitting racist or antisemitic comments, as well restricting the ability of offenders to hide behind anonymous identities. This latter practice was denounced by French President Emmanuel Macron in February as “the mask of cowards.”
Government figures for 2018 published earlier this year showed a 74-percent rise in the number of antisemitic attacks in France.